My Davidson | A Student Blog Why Early Decision

a compilation of student headshots featuring two men and a woman

If you're considering applying Early Decision, we know there can be nerves and concerns related to making such a big commitment. Davidson students share why Early Decision to Davidson was the right fit for them and offer some advice for those considering it now.

Shawn An '24: Take Your Time

a young Asian man wearing a button-up and smiling

Shawn An ’24 (he/him/his) is a biology and Hispanic studies double major from Harrisburg, North Carolina. He is involved in several campus organizations, including being a hall counselor, president of Korean Students Association, and treasurer of Davidson Disability Alliance.

“Early Decision? I don’t even know what I want when I go to Zaxby’s. How can I make that commitment?”

For a long time, the phrase “Early Decision” terrified me for one reason only: It was always accompanied by the word “binding.” Binding sounds an awful lot like bondage, and thus, in my head, carried a similar connotation.

So, I never thought of Early Decision as an option. I thought it would be a decision that I would regret in the long run, and I believed I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t throw my hat in other rings. Given how hard I had worked, why would I limit myself? The only way that I would ever consider Early Decision was if by some small sliver of a percentage, there was a school out there that could sweep me off my feet and impress me on all levels. But I thought, “That school doesn’t exist for me… Does it?”

Turns out it did.

June 30, 2019. I step foot onto Davidson College’s campus for the first time as a July Experience (JE) student. For the next month, I would live here, eat here, take classes and meet strangers from all over the world. For the next month, I wouldn’t see my family or friends. For the next month, I would be entering unfamiliar territory and, quite honestly, it scared me. I told my family and friends how excited I was. Behind closed doors, I thought nonstop about what might go wrong.

The moment I stepped foot on campus, I was met with an onslaught of support from everyone — my hallmates, hall counselors, professors and strangers (some of whom I am still close friends with today). If I had to pinpoint the one thing I loved most about my experience, I would say it was the interactions with friends and professors. I was sold.

I ended up applying Early Decision and received an acceptance letter into the Class of 2024 — I have loved my experience as a Davidson Wildcat. Do I sometimes wish I hadn’t applied Early Decision? Yes, but only because I sometimes get curious about where else my high school career could have taken me. Overall, I have not regretted my decision one bit.

If I had any advice for students considering Early Decision, I would say this: Take your time. Take your time to make sure that this is the right decision for you. Make sure as you evaluate colleges that the institution has the academic, athletic, lifestyle and social opportunities you want. Do this for you, and no one else.

Sohan Gade ’23: Feeling and Fit

a young man wearing a red Davidson sweatshirt and smiling

Sohan Gade ’23 (he/him/his) is a double major in philosophy and politics & economics through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies from Irving, Texas. Some of his campus involvements include being a Humanities Fellow, Davidsonian writer, and volunteer at Ada Jenkins.

Early Decision can be daunting, just like the college application process. It’s hard to make big, binding choices about your future — or at least it was for me three years ago as a senior in high school. Early Decision can be an especially difficult decision in terms of financial aid. Researching financial aid policies and contacting financial aid representatives can help.

Reflecting back as a current Davidson junior, I am very glad that I decided to apply in the Early Decision cycle. A lot of it comes down to feeling and fit. I visited Davidson as part of the Access Davidson fly-in program. During the visit, I had the chance to meet a lot of amazing folks, including my current major advisor and Davidson College’s president, Carol Quillen. I thought it was special that the college president was so eager to meet prospective students. Her openness really spoke to the community that I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to be in a place where I could explore my interests in politics, history, and economics, as well as math. I was looking for a new environment where I felt I could grow and develop, while hearing about new perspectives — which I found at Davidson during my visit.

A lot of the decision relies on what you — the student — are looking for. Make a list of what you are looking for in a school and a community. Things like research opportunities, location, student activities, available support services, and general “vibes” are all really important. Talk to students, faculty and staff who are involved with the school or sit in on classes, if possible. Get as much information as possible, and try to imagine yourself as a student. Ask yourself: Would I feel comfortable being myself here? Are there great opportunities for personal growth here? What can I contribute to the college community? While academics are central to the college experience, you’ll spend a lot of your time outside of the classroom, too.

Madeline Buitendorp ’22: Stay True to Yourself

Madeleine Buitendorp

Madeline Buitendorp ’22 (she/her/hers) is a political science major and educational studies minor from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Some of her campus involvements include being a Terry Scholarship Fellow, communications director and founding member of the College Crisis Initiative, and member of the Center for Political Engagement.

I knew that I would apply Early Decision I (EDI) to Davidson when I was leaving campus after my overnight visit. I remember walking back to the Admission & Financial Aid Office and waiting for my ride to the airport, and feeling like I really did not want to leave. This place felt right — like home. I had not felt that anywhere else on my college search. It still feels a bit like a cliché movie plot, or something my grandma says, but I truly had one of those “when you know, you know” moments.

To be fair, I had also done my research. I knew a lot about Davidson generally and had spent a lot of time meeting with my admission counselor, current students, faculty and beyond to gauge if Davidson would be a good fit for me. My parents also helped with making sure that Davidson was feasible for us financially before making the commitment to Early Decision.

For me, applying EDI took so much of the stress and waiting out of the college application process. I knew I was going to Davidson by mid-December and was able to spend the rest of the holidays and spring being excited about what my time at Davidson would look like, starting to plan for life in a residential hall, and meeting new friends in the Class of 2022 who also applied Early Decision.

Since I work as a Senior Admission Fellow, I feel like I should share some advice for prospective students. First and foremost, be authentic. Davidson admission counselors want to get to know you and advocate for you. We are always looking for reasons to admit someone, not reasons to deny. Second, use the resources offered. Reach out to your admission counselor or a senior fellow, or even connect with current students and professors (the Admission Office can help you make those connections!). We are here to help. Finally, while deciding what your next step after high school is can be daunting, and is rightfully a big deal, please remember to enjoy your time with your friends, family, and in this stage of life. Whether you apply Early Decision to Davidson or not, your world is about to change, so enjoy it!


  • November 9, 2021